If you have ever been to Turkey you have definitely noticed the huge amount of dogs and cats living on the streets. However, if you are going and you are an animal lover, then this country is definitely for you. It is safe to say that Turkey is a paradise for dogs and cats. They are very welcome in restaurants, stores, the metro, or even in the museum. You can get the impression that they rule this country and have more rights than humans. However, there is one cat that stands out above all other animals, his name is Gil and he lived in the world-famous building Hagia Sophia.

Gli the Cat of Hagia Sophia

We should also mention that Turkish people love cats, it is part of their Turkish life. That is probably why they loved Gli and let him live in Hagi Sophi. The meaning of “Gli” is “Union of love”, a name that fits this little, loving, and aristocratic cat perfectly. He received a lot of love from people who came to Haga Shopi, especially from tourists who were simply delighted with him. Until one day, she became a social media star. One woman decided to open an account on Instagram where she shared pictures of Gli, as she said Gli acted like a model, so it had to be captured. 

The account on Instagram grew rapidly and attracted lots of cat lovers. Currently, the account has nearly 120k followers. Gli became popular when the prime-minister R.Tayyip Erdoğan and then Obama stroked her in 2009. Unfortunately in 2020 the cat got seriously ill and was moved to a private clinic in Istanbul. Gli unfortunately, passed away due to old age (16 years).

08.11.2020: Gli was buried in a special place in Hagia Sophia’s garden. Rest in Peace Gli.

Cats in mosques: Yes or no?

In 2020 Hagia Sophia changed its official administrative status from museum to mosque. This aroused a lot of debates over what was and wasn’t permitted inside the mosque. Turkey’s chief adviser and chairman Ibrahim Kalin made an official statement regarding Gli and her future. He said: “That cat has become very famous, and there are others who haven’t become that famous yet. That cat will be there, and all cats are welcome to our mosques.” His announcement may have come as a surprise for foreigners, but most Turkish people agreed with him.

On Gli’s Instagram account, there are still pictures of him, but also other cats that come to Hagia Sophia. Gli will forever be remembered as the Cat of Hagia Sophia.

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